Simone Biles and other Olympic gymnasts are seeking over $1 billion from the F.B.I for its failure to properly investigate Lawrence Nassar, the sports doctor said to have assaulted over 90 different women.
On Wednesday (June 8), reports emerged that Nassar's victims were suing the bureau for knowingly allowing the doctor to continue his tirade of abuse, per the New York Post.
Last summer, a report by the Justice Department's inspector general revealed that F.B.I agents knew about the allegations against Nassar in 2015, but they failed to act leaving him free to abuse women for more than a year after the original accusations dropped — Nassar wasn't arrested by Michigan authorities until 2016.
The women suing the F.B.I say they were assaulted during the time period when the bureau turned a blind eye to Nassar's abuse.
However, two weeks ago, the Justice Department declined to prosecute the two agents that allegedly botched the bureau's 2015 investigation.
“My fellow survivors and I were betrayed by every institution that was supposed to protect us — the U.S. Olympic Committee, U.S.A. Gymnastics, the F.B.I. and now the Department of Justice,” Olympic gold medalist McKayla Maroney said in a statement. “It is clear that the only path to justice and healing is through the legal process."
According to Manly, Stewart & Finaldi, a California law firm, the plaintiffs suing the bureau include Maroney, Biles, Aly Raisman, and dozens more.
“If the F.B.I had simply done its job, Nassar would have been stopped before he ever had the chance to abuse hundreds of girls, including me,” former University of Michigan gymnast Samantha Roy said.
Nassar's victims are seeking different amounts in damages, but the total exceeds $1 billion, their lawyer, John C. Manly, said in a statement.
In 2015, Indianapolis-based USA Gymnastics reported Nassar to local F.B.I agents after three gymnasts said they were assaulted by the team doctor. However, the F.B.I declined to launch a formal investigation or inform Michigan authorities, per the Justice Department's inspector general's report from last summer.
Los Angeles F.B.I agents opened a sexual tourism investigation against Nassar in 2016, but also failed to alert Michigan authorities, the inspector general said.
Nassar's arrest didn't occur until the fall of 2016 after an investigation by police at Michigan State University where he was a doctor.
The team doctor is serving decades in prison, but over 70 athletes are said to have been sexually abused by Nassar between July 2015, when he was first reported to the F.B.I., and August 2016, when Michigan State police were alerted.